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Wind erosion

Mechanics | Water erosion | Risk management

Back to Soil erosion

Wind erosion is exclusively sheet erosion where particles of soil are detached, transported and deposited by the wind. Land is susceptible to wind erosion where vegetative cover is low and soil particles are light enough to be moved by the wind.

The power of wind is calculated by wind speed, that is, as the velocity of the wind doubles, the power rises by a factor of 16.

Wind power moves the soil in three ways
      1. Surface creep – particles larger than 0.5 mm
      2. Saltation – particles of intermediate size (0.05 – 0.5 mm)
      3. Suspension – fine particles less than 0.05 mm

Wind erosion on a cultivated paddock

Model of wind erosion displaying how different sized particles of soil are transported by wind.

Wind erosion can be modified by improving soil aggregation and bonding, and by modifying the wind speed by using vegetation (e.g. shelter belts), vegetative residues (e.g. stubble retention), and by increasing surface roughness.

Model of how roughness at the soil surface reduces wind speed and contact at the surface.

Surface cover reduces wind speed – the higher the cover the more the wind speed is reduced at ground level.
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